Prepare to listen. Light 2 purple and pink candles and pray: ‘Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.’
Prayerfully Read Matthew 11:7-11.
As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.” Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
The reading begins with Jesus’ challenge to think about motives. He challenged the crowd to reflect on why they went out of their way to see and hear John the Baptizer. He gives some ridiculous, even sarcastic suggestions to help them think. Did they go to see a reed shaken by the wind or someone who wears soft clothes? His purpose was to force them to admit they’d made the journey to John because they wanted to see and hear a true prophet of God who must be believed and obeyed.
Jesus ends with a paradox. John is lifted very high (none born of women is greater) and yet is very low (the least in the kingdom is greater). It suggests a question: Is the least in the kingdom Jesus himself, who sacrificed everything to enter our world? It seems that Jesus was rejecting our common need of one-up-man-ship, reminding us that we’re all equal in the kingdom.
What are some of your motives for following Jesus?
Respond to Jesus
Jesus, your words challenge us to dig deep and get real about our motives for following you. Help me today to live with integrity, faithfulness and obedience as I wait for your coming. To the glory of your name, Amen.
Go live obediently in the world seeking to live the Jesus Way of humility.